Upon the death of Peter Schworer, surfer and artist
By Corky Carroll
May 18th was a wonderful day in Huntington Beach. All kinds of fun stuff went on. The Duck-a-thon, the induction’s into the Surfing Hall of Fame, the Legends Day festivities and the big surf music concert in the amphitheater. For me it was really good. I got to dip my hands and feet into the Hall of Fame concrete, had a blast being the M.C. for Legends Day and had a nice evening playing music at Dukes. I was in surf-hog heaven. But then I got a call from my pal George Lambert, the “Mayor of Main Street.” He was really somber and I was wondering if he was playing some sort of prank on me. He has been known to do that. But it was not anything like that. It turns out that our good friend and local surfer, Peter Schworer, had suddenly died that day. It was a real shock and brought back that old “in the blink of an eye” thing.
Peter had been living in Zihuatanejo, Mexico. He had an art gallery there where he sold his paintings. His artwork had become extremely skilled over the years and Mexico was the perfect setting for him to paint and surf. I have four of his paintings on my living room walls, the most recent one just finished in January of this year.
My lasting memory of Peter will be from one day early this year when I was in Mexico surfing with my buddy Des “Bluedog” Metcalf. We had just got out of the water at this great out of the way surf spot. There was a little cantina on the beach where we would park and get snacks after surfing. Peter was there that day and he was painting a picture of the point and surf spot. It was a beautiful morning, the surf had been good and the sun was shining. A group of local surfers where hanging out watching Peter paint and basking in the sun. He turned around to talk to somebody and a sudden bit of breeze blew his canvas off of the rack and it fell into the sand. We all were taken back and thought that this was gonna be a horrible tragedy. But Peter hardly flinched. He just picked it up and brushed off most of the sand kept right on painting. All he said was “hey, a bit of the beach that’s in the painting getting into the paint can do nothing but make this one even more authentic.” We saw the finished painting hanging in his gallery a few nights later and I have to say that I was real tempted to buy the thing right then. Now I wish that I had.
From what I understand, he woke up that morning feeling sick and went to the local hospital to get checked out. While he was filling out the paperwork to get admitted he had a fatal heart attack. Peter had led a good life of surfing and painting. He also had been a speed skier some years ago in the Squaw Valley area, having once set a mark of 118 miles an hour on the snow. He was an extremely popular figure here in Huntington Beach and in his adopted home of Zihuatanejo. All of us that new him are very saddened by his sudden passing and will miss his big smile and great story telling. We can, however, celebrate the fact that Peter Schworer was one of those rare individuals who lived his life doing exactly what made him happy and that his life brought a bit more light into ours that were lucky enough to be one of his friends. Go with God mi amigo.